Despite Lippi, China’s World Cup dreams dashed again
Marcello Lippi's first game as China's coach ended in a 0-0 draw with Qatar in the third round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Kunming yesterday.
The draw leaves China with just two points after five games, making it almost certain that it will not qualify for the finals in Russia.
Lippi, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, was appointed in October following the resignation of Gao Hongbo.
China, looking to return to the World Cup for the first time since 2002, was close to scoring on a number of occasions but just could not find a way through.
JAPAN 2, SAUDI ARABIA 1 A first-half penalty from Hiroshi Kiyotake helped Japan to a much-needed 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in Saitama, Japan.
A handball in the area gave Kiyotake his opportunity in the 45th minute, and Genki Haraguchi added a second for Japan with 11 minutes remaining.
Omar Hawsawi scored for Saudi Arabia with a minute left.
The victory moves Japan level with Saudi Arabia with 10 points after five Group B games and marks the first loss for Saudi Arabia, which still holds the top spot on goal differential.
S. KOREA 2, UZBEKISTAN 1 A late goal from Koo Ja-cheol gave South Korea a crucial comefrom-behind win over Uzbekistan in Seoul.
The Bundesliga midfielder scored with five minutes remaining to put South Korea, aiming for a ninth consecutive World Cup appearance, ahead of Uzbekistan and into second place in Group A behind Iran.
Uzbekistan's Mirat Bikmaev scored from outside the area in the 25th minute, with Nam Taehee making it 1-1 midway through the second half.